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Certified Sanctions Specialist (CSS)

Certification Program

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Benefits of Certification

For the certified sanctions specialist

  • Pride – In today’s era of specialization, sanctions experts are required to have a vast array of knowledge. They need to be competent to set conduct compliance and sanctions examinations, establish compliance and sanctions programs and keep current on legislative issues. What fulfills the need to have a personal senseof knowing one’s capabilities? Certification.
  • Growth – Certification will support and enhance career advancement opportunities. Employers know that most certified professionals have personal characteristics and technical skills that are positive attributes to institutions; for example, a high achiever.
  • Employment – The days are over that just anyone can be a sanctions compliance officer. Every financial institution should be hiring a knowledgeable specialist to fill compliance positions. With the CSS credential, the interviewing institution is likely to give more consideration to the certified candidate.
  • Financial rewards – Certification should be recognized by various institutions across the globe through financial incentives. Certification will also increase the demand for CSS and enhance the value of the skills and services of the Certified Sanctions Specialist.

For the employer

  • Reputation – financial institutions, including securities dealers, money services businesses, non-bank financial institutions, attorneys seeking expert witnesses, consultants and investigators should market if they employ certified sanctions specialists. It is a very strong statement to the public when a compliance department can state that they have certified specialists.
  • Achievement – Specialists who are certified tend to be high achievers achievers, have a higher self-esteem and seek opportunities for professional growth. These are professionals that want to know the latest information in the sanctions field and take pride in the services they deliver; a valuable asset for the institution in which they are employed.

Early Bird
Pricing & Registration

Offer Expires October 31, 2019

What is it?

The Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists offers an examination that addresses knowledge and skills common to all sanctions professionals in varied employment settings, including financial institutions, international corporations, law firms, consulting companies, government, and other trades and businesses.

The objective of the certification program is to set the standard for the sanctions profession, and to make Certified Sanctions Specialists (CSS) widely recognized as trained and credentialed specialists in the sanctions field.

It is a multiple-choice, proctored exam that can be taken in testing centers across the globe.

Why this Certification?

Career opportunities abound for the sanctions specialists, but the days are over that just anyone can fulfil that role. Especially in these days, the “consumer” of the services of a compliance officer or other sanctions expert has become more vigilant, demanding quality. This demand is exacerbated by the media’s constant attention to sanctions issues arising at financial institutions, or international businesses. Certification of the sanctions professional in organizations that are vulnerable to the problem is designed to meet this consumer

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Who can take the exam?

Individuals who have met the minimum qualifications can sit for the exam. Eligibility requires a minimum scoring based upon a combination of factors. Persons who have not yet met the minimum levels required can take continuing education programs with ACSS or other sources to reach the minimum requirements. (40 credits, see

About the exam
The CSS exam will be the product of collaboration between ACSS, its job Analysis Taskforce, and an independent company with expertise on research, testing, measurement, management and technology. The result will be a psychometrically sound exam that assures the quality and soundness of the ACSS certification program.

What Topics will be on the exam?
The exam will focus on various aspects of the sanctions subject. A job analysis will determine the content and the importance of each knowledge area for the specialists in the field. The certification exam will be tailored to international best practices and basic frameworks for sanctions efforts around the world.
I. Sanctions Regime Types, Goals, Prohibitions and Effects
II. Sanctions Imposers and Targets
III. Sanctions Evasion: Typologies and Schemes
IV. Essential Components of a Risk-Based Sanctions Compliance Program in Different Industry Settings
V. Role of Technology and List Screening
VI. Other Operational Issues Contributing to an Effective and Efficient Sanctions Compliance Program
VII. Enforcement and Conducting or Supporting Investigations into Sanctions Violations

Where will the exam be administered?
Since ACSS members reside worldwide, we will use a computerized exam. Administration method, ACSS will begin to offer exams in 2019, multiple times per year. ACSS also will offer an online exam preparation publication with sample exam questions. Requirements to sit for the exam include the completion of an ACSS exam application and payment of an application fee plus the costs for the testing service at the time of them exam.